Extraintestinal Escherichia coli (ExPEC), a heterogeneous group of pathogens, encompasses avian, neonatal meningitis, and uropathogenic E. coli strains. While several virulence factors are associated with ExPEC, there is no core set of virulence factors that can be used to definitively differentiate these pathotypes. Here we describe a multiplex of four virulence factor-encoding genes, yfcV, vat,fyuA, and chuA, highly associated with uropathogenic E. coli strains that can distinguish three groups of E. coli: diarrheagenic and animal-associated E. colistrains, human commensal and avian pathogenic E. coli strains, and uropathogenic and neonatal meningitis E. coli strains. Furthermore, human intestinal isolates that encode all four predictor genes express them during exponential growth in human urine and colonize the bladder in the mouse model of ascending urinary tract infection in higher numbers than human commensal strains that do not encode the four predictor genes (P = 0.02), suggesting that the presence of the predictors correlates with uropathogenic potential.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lisa_nolan/5/